You’ve got enough to deal with while running your small business. Keeping your computer networks and equipment up and running on your own doesn’t have to be on that list.
Managed IT service providers can cover everything from maintaining your hardware to troubleshooting email problems and protecting confidential data. They go beyond fixing what’s broken, providing proactive security monitoring, analytics, and consulting.
Here are some considerations to help you begin choosing the right Managed Service Provider (MSP) for your business:
List Your Requirements
Begin at the beginning by making a list of what IT services you need. Think about how much you now spend on IT support, how many users you have, and where they work.
Do you have mobile users to support, confidential data to protect, or heavily regulated industry with compliance considerations? Experienced providers know how to navigate those waters and keep up with the changes for you.
How about hardware? Do you have a lot of peripherals to support, like printers? How about business continuity and disaster recovery?
A qualified Managed Service Provider (MSP) can answer these questions while providing you the most efficient, effective package to meet those needs.
Get Real About References
References are critical, and any trustworthy provider will happily provide them. Try to find customers in the same industry as yours if possible. While most IT requirements are common, some industries have unique considerations, particularly in financial services and healthcare. Conversely, it’s also wise to consider an (MSP) who serves multiple industries. The experiences they’ve built dealing with a variety of situations are valuable for growing businesses.
Be sure to ask potential providers about staffing. How many people do they have? Is their service 24/7? What kind of certifications do they have?
Beyond the MSP Basics
Increasingly, MSPs can provide services beyond simply keeping your network running. Most also offer other advanced data center services. For businesses with security concerns, partnering with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) will provide a higher level of dedicated security experience and technology. Often an MSSP can provide security services to an existing IT department. This allows the IT team can better focus on the support needs.